“That’s music to my ears.” While, that’s not an expression you might expect to hear at a national sporting event, it’s becoming more common as event promoters across professional sports look to national recording artists to add excitement to the fan experience at their venues. Whether it’s the Super Bowl halftime show, opening ceremonies at the Olympics, or a pre-race concert at the Daytona 500, fans are being treated to live musical entertainment before, during, and after the main event.
Over the past 25 years, JHE has found itself in the middle of these event experiences. In 2012 alone, JHE produced more than 35 concerts, up from just five a decade ago. This year Lenny Kravitz, Kid Rock, Blake Shelton, Lady Antebellum, and Train, to name a few, performed on a JHE stage. In addition to the numerous mobile concerts, JHE has produced Food Lion Speed Street for 18 years, a multi-day, multi-concert street festival in downtown Charlotte, N.C. In all, JHE works with more than 50 headliners a year.
“Due to the increased demand for live entertainment in sports, we’ve expanded our capabilities from being the event producer and subbing out all of the concert production to producing the event and handling all of the production work in-house,” explained Senior Production Coordinator Ryan Williams.
JHE’s concert capabilities are unique in that it produces concerts in venues designed for another type of activity, such as football stadiums, NASCAR tracks, and public streets.
“We’re able to adapt to each scenario,” Brad Smith said. “A lot of that is due to our front-end work, letting both the venue and the artist know exactly what they’re getting before they get to the event makes for an easier day.”
Williams noted that JHE owns equipment which enables them to produce concerts in non-traditional venues, often in a very tight time frame with only minutes to strike equipment and remove the stage from the venue. The JHE audio team have become experts, predicting how the music will sound at unique venues and what needs to be done to improve the quality.
“We are in our own touring world, what we do is completely different than how a concert tour operates,” Williams said.
The JHE production team handles many of the shows in-house, providing audio, lighting, and staging, while managing band contracts, catering and travel logistics.
“Sometimes venues will book acts themselves and we just manage the contracts and provide what is already negotiated between the venue and the artist,” Williams said. “With every event we produce it’s up to the client whether we produce the entire package or any portion they want done inside that package.”
Yet the key to JHE’s concert success is simple: fulfill the promises made to the artist and the customer so everyone is happy at the end of the day.